Diary of the Plague Year: Day 65 19 May 2020: Quotidian Poetry: THE FLORA: John Lydgate (?1370 – ?1451)

Lat no man booste of conning nor vertu,
Of tresour, richesse, nor of sapience,
Of worldly support, for all cometh of Jesu:
Counsail, comfort, discresioun and prudence,
Provisioun, forsight and providence,
Like as the Lord of grace list dispoose;
Som man hath wisdom, som man hath elloquence –
All stant on chaunge, like a midsomer roose.
Wholsom in smelling be the soote floures,
Full delitable, outward, to the sight;
The thorn is sharp, curyd with fresh coloures;                                            (covered)
All is nat gold that outward sheweth bright;
A stokfish boon in dirkeness yeveth a light;
Twen fair and foul, as God list dispoose,
A difference atwix day and night –
All stant on chaunge, like a midsomer roose.
It was the Roose of the bloody feeld,
Roose of Jericho that grew in Beedlem                                              (Bethlehem)
The five rooses portrayed on the sheeld,
Splayed in the baneer at Jerusalem:
The sonne was clips, and dirk in every rem,                                        (eclipse, realm)
When Christ Jesu five welles list uncloose
Toward Paradis, called the rede strem –
Of whos five woundes prent in your heart a roose.


An Anthology of Poetry and Prose
Compiled by Fiona MacMath